December 28, 2022
Big Reading Update for 2022
So as the year comes to a close, I wanted to review how reading have gone this year.
I started the year with a stated goal of reading 12 things. Books, bundle of 5 booklets, volumes of manga. Didn’t matter, but at least 12 things total. I knew full well that a book would have more words and probably take longer than a volume of manga, but I didn’t want to restrict myself to x volumes of manga and x number of books.
Honestly I wanted to be open to books while knowing I’d probably read mostly manga. Also the Ask Graded Readers I still had left over, counted more as book than manga, so that also made me not want to restrict what kind of thing I read to reach the goal.
My Result, aka Stats!
- Ask Graded Readers level 4, volume 2
- Ask Graded Readers level 4, volume 3
- 渡瀬悠宇 The Best Selection 2
- Orange 1
- Orange 2
- Orange 3
- Orange 4
- Orange 5
1/2 Visual Novel (VN):
- ルーパーズ (technically less than 50% but close enough)
What a nice long list. I hit the goal with only manga, and also did a third of it in books.
This is only thanks to the Read Every Day Challenges: spring, summer, and fall (my home posts in each thread linked). And I can say this with confidence, because I didn’t read anything at all for the first three months of the year.
Bookmeter (my profile) reports that I read 3609 pages this year. For a daily average of just under 10 pages. But considering I skipped three months entirely and didn’t read every day of all three challenges (plus their off months), that number was higher on most days. ^^
Non Stats Results
Finishing off the graded readers I bought several years ago had been a goal of mine for a while. The good thing with that was that I read a very simplified and shortened version of 坊っちゃん by Soseki, and I really enjoyed that. I hope to read the original later, but probably not next year.
I also read my first book book (so to say ). I think they might be considered light novels (LN), but that is more of a genre than type of book as I understand it. (I don’t really understand it at all. ) But it was nice to do. にゃんにゃん探偵団 were too much 絵本 to really feel like a book. Although I probably called it my first book when I read them.
Why not? xD
I’ll probably call finishing my first real book when I finish my first non-LN book. Which should happen next year unless I get waaaay too busy with other things I’m reading.
As for manga, I read my first few volumes of it completely by myself, no WK resources available to help (the hotel manga and Best Selection short story collection from Watase Yuu). Although I don’t think there were any resources for Sailor Moon either since it was a independent book club with not a lot of activity. But I had people to ask.
To be fair, I could ask about things in the other things too, but it would have been from people who hadn’t read the thing I was asking about.
I keep saying that the only reason I haven’t read more よつばと is because I got too involved with book clubs and had no reading time left over, and that is the truth. D: I will get back to it though, it is so much fun. I guess I just get to savor it for longer.
Orange was something I was gonna read by myself, but so many other people were interested that I started an independent club for it, that is still going strong. The last chapter of volume 5 is starting in 3 days. And that finishes the main story. (I read ahead because TOO INTERESTING!!!)
And as I started Orange, I also started reading with other book clubs. I’ve joined the Beginner Book Club for two reads (Mimi/Whisper of the Heart and Kamisama), I joined the offshoot for Night Café, and lastly I joined the VN club for Loopers (but I’ll talk about that under its own heading).
I kept up with some of the clubs better than others, but I finished all the manga (and book) club reads. I was pleasantly surprised by some of them. And I didn’t read anything I was disinterested in (for a club). (Although Night Café 2 really took a turn for the worse and means I’ll probably drop the series, I might read the third volume that I own or I might not.)
One thing that is true is that if I keep reading the same series, one after the other (or close enough), then it just gets easier and easier. Because volume 5 of Orange was so much easier and quicker to read. So I should probably do that with Sailormoon.
So this was also the year I got into VNs. Right around I was starting up Orange. @Daisoujou started up the first VN (main) book club here on WK. (A VN had been read as an independent book club before but this was gonna be an organized main club with nominations and voting for next picks, etc.)
And because I was hanging out with several VN people in the spring read every day challenge, I ended up deciding that I’d join if the VN picked was one I was interested in (and that was on Switch). And Loopers was picked.
While I didn’t finish Loopers and I fell behind pretty quickly. I did read a lot more of it in late November, but still didn’t quite hit the 50% mark. I certainly enjoyed it and I plan to finish it. Other book clubs just got in the way.
But it also lead to me nominating my first couple of things in a main book club and BU$TAFELLOWS won the vote (along with 9-nine-) as the second pick for the club. So I’m now running that one too. It has barely started though, so I won’t have read much by the time 2022 ends.
The only downside of reading VNs are that I can’t track it on Bookmeter, nor do I want to get an account at a specific VN site to track that stuff. It does mean that some amount of what I read won’t actually show in my reading stats, and I suspect that will become a real “problem” (aka my stats from bookmeter will be very inaccurate in how much I actually read) next year.
My stamina have grown so much. When before I would have had to work to read a chapter of Orange (for example), I can now easily read a chapter of it as long as I have enough time. I also don’t feel like I always want a break after finishing a chapter of manga, I can easily keep reading if I want to/have time.
It has become very clear to me that different mediums/genres use very different base vocabulary. Loopers uses a lot of words I haven’t seen anywhere else, but it wouldn’t surprise me if I saw more of it in future VNs. Night Café used a ton of onomatopoeia, making the nuance of actions hard to understand unless I looked them up.
The thing I struggle with the most is definitely my limited vocabulary. Earlier in the year, I definitely found myself still struggling with grammar, but after the spring read every day challenge, and maybe part into the summer challenge, that stopped. And now, the thing that slows me down is definitely vocabulary.
And yet, I have no plans to dive into an SRS deck to try and “fix” that. For one, depending on what I read, the words I need to learn are very different. So there won’t be a deck I can use straight off. I might use koohi or jpdb some time next year for a specific book/manga/VN, to help learn that ones vocabulary. But I’m not gonna try a scattershot approach, nor am I interested in building my own deck.
Instead I want to keep going at grammar actually, because grammar gives so much nuance, and while I know the general meaning of most grammar I see, I don’t know the nuance. Some of that will come from reading more. But it couldn’t hurt to study more. And I have only studied formally up to the end of N3, so might be good to start peeking at N2 and N1 grammar, just so I’ll know it when I see it (and can look it up again at that point ).
I’m so incredibly happy about everything I read this year. I learnt I love reading together with other people. Especially mystery stories (whether crime or not) because it leads to fun speculation and predicting. Most of that will be wrong, but there is something fun about doing it anyway.
I became a reader when I was 11, but as I hit my twenties, I started to spend less and less time on reading, other things took more space. I stopped having convenient short breaks to dig into reading. (I used to read at most breaks in high school.) I’m now 30+ and I’ve been trying to reclaim the title of heavy reader for a few years now (ever since I stopped reading as much more or less…). And honestly, reading in Japanese have probably been my best success so far.
I didn’t read every day, but I kept coming back to it. And I read a lot of days from the moment I started the read every day challenges.
I hope I can use this momentum and also read more in English too (I’m a hoarder of English fiction too, not just Japanese >_>). Plus there is something magical about just being able to dive in and read. And my vocabulary is too small in Japanese to be at that stage yet, but there are manga where I am fairly close. Soon
And since this is long enough already. I’ll write out my 2023 reading plans in another post.